Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu called upon the scientific community to find long-term solutions to the problems faced by farmers and improve crop productivity and farmers’ income.
He also wanted scientists to explore ways to make crops climate-resilient, nutrition-efficient and less water consuming.
Delivering the Valedictory Speech at the 107th Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru Tuesday, the Vice President said that global warming and climate change were affecting the weather patterns in an unpredictable manner and causing massive devastation at times. He sought to know from the scientists whether the problems faced by farmers due to nature’s fury could be mitigated.
Calling for concerted efforts, Naidu emphasised upon the critical role of technology in enhancing both the quality and quantity across the agriculture value chain from the use of inputs at the pre-production stage to post-production and marketing to improve the income of farmers.
The Vice President, while noting how technology was making our lives more comfortable, said that at the same time new challenges were arising. He said science must find solutions to problems like increasing urbanisation, pollution, urban-rural divide, growing antibacterial resistance, genetic & non-communicable diseases and water scarcity, among others.
Urging schools to lay the foundation for the spread of a strong scientific culture in the country, he stressed that such a foundation would become the basis for creating an ecosystem for creativity and innovation to thrive.
“The need of the hour is to foster the spirit of inquisitiveness, curiosity and scientific temper right from the primary school level”, he said.
Observing that there was a crying need for our universities and scientific institutions to promote R&D on a big scale, the Vice President called for expanding the academia-industry linkage to promote research and innovation in a big way. Technological innovation was a key driver in boosting economy, improving people’s lives and enabling better delivery of services, he added.
“India like no other country has a huge demographic dividend and can emerge as the innovation and knowledge if our universities and scientific institutions invest more on R&D and significantly raise the standards of research”, Naidu stressed.
The Vice President also urged the corporate India to develop a symbiotic partnership with the universities and to identify and fund a dozen futuristic projects.
Opining that India was surging forward with renewed vigour and enthusiasm, the Vice President said that it must leverage the demographic opportunity with science and technology playing a leading role in driving the economic and social development in order to make the country a $5 trillion economy.